“Tangled” truly shines

“Tangled” is the 50th film released by Disney. It’s a girl-meets-boy story. But Rapunzel and Flynn aren’t your typical boy and girl. Rapunzel, voiced by Mandy Moore, is the kingdom’s golden child in spirit and hair color. She is kidnapped as a child and locked away in a tower that is hidden away from the prying eyes of the evil Mother Gothel. Flynn, voiced by Zachary Levi, is a thief with smoldering charm and slippery fingers. His real name is Eugene (but he won’t tell you that unless he likes you).

It is the colors and the imagery of the film that truly shine. The colors and images contain a painterly quality. Rapunzel’s hair moves like an ocean of sparkling, glossy golden water twisting and turning in the heroine’s capable hands. Disney spent quite a long time on the hair, and rightfully so, because the hair is the key to Rapunzel’s power. When Rapunzel’s mother was about to give birth to her daughter, she fell ill. It is only from the magical powers of a special flower that both mother and child survived. As a side effect, Rapunzel’s hair was endowed with the power to heal and reverse aging. It is this magical power in which the villainous Mother Gothel, voiced with wicked abandon by Donna Murphy, covets.

Rapunzel has become a stronger-willed character since her predecessor from the classic fairytale. She jumps, swings from rafters, hangs out with brutes and swings a mean frying pan.

Animal characters add a lot of humor to “Tangled.” What girl wouldn’t want a saucy pet chameleon named Pascal to aid her in her adventure? And poor Flynn takes a lot of abuse from Maximus, a stallion of the royal court, with the intent of capturing Flynn. A lot of fun is to be had from watching the two characters face off against each other. With a sword in mouth and a frying pan in hand, it makes for a lot of laughs along the way.

The best way to see the film is in 3-D. The colors and images seem to come to life right in front of your eyes. As you watch, you can catch a butterfly flying within hand’s reach. In a scene where lanterns fill the skies and move towards the audience, you can’t help feeling the magic of the moment. This is a film where 3-D is actually an important part of the film, not an unnecessary gimmick.

“Tangled” is ultimately about finding your own way. For Rapunzel, it is to escape the tower and experience the world. For Flynn, it is to finally see himself the way Rapunzel sees him, as a man worthy of love. “Tangled” opened in theaters on Nov. 24.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Story by Shawn Buckenmeyer